What is Divorce Mediation?
Family mediation is a process whereby a trained family mediator assists you and your spouse to resolve issues relating to separation. This could include: parenting, division of property and financial issues such as child & spousal support. The Mediator is an impartial third party who is trained to help you to work out a solution that is fair and equitable. Mediation is a favorable process to the alternative, adversarial court process.
Why use a Family Mediator?
Mediation gives the parties an opportunity to discuss the issues needing to be resolved with a trained specialist to facilitate the discussions. It ensures that both spouses have their needs heard and helps to also keep the focus on what the issues are. It is a voluntary, private process, and allows for communication and problem solving, reducing the risk of conflict. It is also far less time consuming and costly than the alternative.
The role of the mediator’s is to ensure that both parties are involved in creating a sustainable and fair agreement. They act impartially and provide the best guidance for the current situation. The mediator does not take sides or make decisions for the parties. Mediators cannot give legal advice, but encourage the parties to seek legal advice throughout the process.
What Issues will the Mediator Address?
Each marriage has its own issues to be resolved, so the process will be different from case to case, but in general, they will help to resolve issues such as:
- Spousal/Partner Support
- Child Support
- Parenting Plans
- Division of Property (including assets & liabilities)
- Any other issues that are important in the marriage as it relates to separation
How Long is the Process?
The length of time that mediation takes is dependent on a number of factors such as;
- The number of issues to resolved,
- How far apart the parties are in coming to agreement,
- The ability and willingness for both parties to cooperate and communicate.
How does one Choose a Mediator?
Important questions to ask when choosing a mediator:
- Does the mediator’s training meet the standards required by the province
- Does the mediator have sufficient knowledge and experience handling cases similar to mine?
- Does the mediator possess adequate resources (e.g., support staff, access to lawyers, financial professionals, counsellors, etc.) to ensure that I receive exceptional service?
- Do I feel I can work well with the mediator?
- Do I feel that the mediator is impartial and unbiased?
Do you Need a Lawyer?
Mediators do not replace lawyers, they are there to help you to decide the settlement of your issues outside of the adversarial court process. You and your spouse are encouraged to get independent legal advice before an agreement is settled and finalized. The mediator will help you in understanding your legal rights and obligations, however a lawyer should review the completed agreement with you before signing.
Is Divorce Mediation Right for You?
Mediation is one of several options available to separating couples to resolve any issues that arise. Here are some others
Table Talk Negotiations
These discussions are held by the two spouses around the “kitchen table”. The parties create their own agreement.
The parties voluntarily enter a process where a neutral third party (the mediator), facilitates the discussions to help create an equitable agreement.
A qualified arbitrator reviews evidence in the case and impose a decision that is legally binding and enforceable in the courts.
Litigation is the traditional legal route, where both parties each retain a lawyer, go to court and have a judge decide on what the future course of action will be.
If you are willing to negotiate a fair and equitable settlement and would like to create an amicable co-parenting relationship, mediation can be a positive option for you. Before you commit to the process, you can schedule a free, 30-minute, joint, online information session to answer any of your questions or concerns you may have.